Paul Montero I speak in ESPN about the Italian Derby between Juventus and Inter, a classic that had him as the protagonist for almost a decade in football in that country. The former defender said that in his time, these games were “impressive due to the category of players there were.”
Montero reviewed that among his companions he had names like Alessandro Del Piero, Zinedine Zidane, Edgard Davids, Didier Deschamps, Ciro Ferrara, Moreno Torriccelli or Angelo Peruzzi. On the sidewalk in front, the quality fought him equally and the Uruguayan remembered some as Ronaldo, Javier Zanetti, Álvaro Recoba, Christian Vieri, Iván Zamorano or Youri Djorkaeff.
“I was lucky. At that time, Italian football had the best in the world, who were in the 7 teams, ‘le sette sorelle’, the seven sisters, as they were called: Juve, Inter, Milan, Roma, Lazio, Parma and Fiorentina. The best South Americans and Europeans were there. At Real Madrid there was some figure like Hierro, Raúl or Fernando Redondo, or in England there were players like Eric Cantona. They pinched some, but most of the figures were in Italian football, ”he commented.
HOW TO LIVE A DERBY
This Sunday, April 3, Juventus will receive Inter for a new derby that will be decisive for the definition of Serie A, a few dates from the end. Montero, who played classics in Uruguayan and Argentine soccer, said that “in Europe they live differently, they are Latinos but they live it a little calmer despite the rivalry.” The main difference for the current DT is the level of the players. “In my time, Juventus-Inter was like watching Barcelona-Real Madrid in the time of Mourinho and Guardiola. Even in the last corner of China you could see that game, and in those days, the best in the world were Ronaldo and Zidane”, he said.
Although it seems like a set phrase, Montero agrees that the week before such a momentous match is different. “Many say that they live it just like anyone else, in my case, I would be lying to you if I said that. You don’t live the same, unconsciously you know it, it’s the match you expect. They are the best teams, there are the best players. You prepare yourself psychologically knowing that if you win those matches, you get closer to the title, ”he indicated.
The record of the former captain of the Uruguayan National Team in the classics against Inter was more than positive: he played 18 times against the Milan team, won ten, drew three and lost five. Looking for reasons to explain this superiority, Montero stressed that “there was a spectacular group” and that the union off the field was tremendous. “We almost always went out to eat together, whether married or single. Almost the entire squad would arrive to train two hours before and you would stay two hours more. I finished training, I was going to have lunch, I was taking a nap and I wanted to go to the locker room. It’s one of the things I miss the most,” he said.
Asked about which Juve-Inter team he remembers the most, Montero responded with his usual singularity and reviewed an anecdote with Ronaldo. “It was one that we lost 1-0. Ronaldo threw a wall at me and ‘old fashioned’ I left him my elbow, so he told me ‘don’t hit me‘. Over time I got to know him and he is a very good person. In the second half, he beat me to the block, when I got up it went away, he threw the center and it was Djorkaeff’s goal. We didn’t deserve to lose, they scored the goal for us with little to go. That’s the classic that stuck with me forever, that roadblock that won me over. The conversation won me over. I was wrong, I was right. I went to lock him loyally and he caught me badly, and he was strong, he was much taller than me and I lost. You have to know how to losePaolo recounted.
The Uruguayan also made his mark in the Italian league due to his behavior on the pitch, as he was sent off 16 times in his 13 seasons in that country. Asked about some epic kick that he has given in the derbies against Inter, he could only remember “one to Obafemi Martins, the Nigerian, who was very fast.”